MPs in plea for Sh4.5b funding to Naivasha Special Economic Zone

Members of the National Assembly Committee on Trade, Industry and Co-operatives tour the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Naivasha. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Naivasha requires Sh4.5 billion to begin operations, according to MPs.

The Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Co-operatives said lack of funding to address issues of access roads, electricity and water had affected development plans in the 1,000-acre zone.

This came as it emerged that more than 75 per cent of the land located off the Mai Mahiu-Narok road had been allocated to five international investors involved in the production of assorted goods. During a tour of the facility, the committee took issue with the low development progress in the 100 acres allocated to neighbouring countries and current investors.

According to committee chairman James Gakuya, the lack of funding from the State for the capital project launched in 2018 was eroding investor confidence. Addressing the press, Gakuya said despite the challenges facing the SEZ, five international investors had shown interest. "This Special Economic Zone requires Sh4.5B to address the issues of roads, electricity and water, which are some of the main challenges facing investors," he said.

Addressing the press after visiting the SEZ, Gakuya said the power station serving the economic hub would be ready by June while water connection was currently being undertaken.

"We have noticed that development by the investors is slow mainly due to lack of support from the government despite the high potential of job opportunities in this park," he said.

Committee vice-chair Marianne Kitany said they would be pushing for the SEZ to get Sh2.5 billion in the next financial year. Kitany said the industrial park had the potential of employing 16,000 youths once complete.

The board chairman of the Special Economic Zone Ng'eny Biwott said lack of funding had affected projects. "We are keen to accelerate development on these 1,000 acres with 75 per cent of the land already occupied," he said.

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